Can you Forward things? And I don’t mean email…
Allow me to explain.
I travel a lot and attend new networking groups regularly. I consistently gain clients out of my networking, often directly at the networking event. One of my tricks to this is a communication technique I call Forwarding.
Did you ever play the game ‘I’m going on a picnic’?
Someone starts, I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing Apples, what are you bringing? The next person says I’m going on your picnic and bringing Apples and Biscuits and the next I’m going on your picnic and I’m bringing Apples, Biscuits, and Clams. To play you have to pay attention to what everyone else is saying and be prepared to add to the list alphabetically.
I treat all conversations a little like this game. I start by listening. Actually listening, not thinking about what I’m going to say next. Then I consider how I can add to the conversation in a way that leaves others able to contribute as well.
I critical element is that I’m not looking to prove a point, I’m not looking to ‘win’ or be right. I’m looking to contribute and include others.
It’s as much about active listening as it is carefully considering how and what you say.
When I attend a networking event where there is someone speaking at the front of a room, I always attempt to sit in the front row. I then pay attention, considering what the intention of the speaker is (there’s that active listening again). If the speaker makes a joke, I laugh. If they ask for volunteers, I raise my hand. If they ask a question, I’m prepared with a response. If they’re looking for the audience to have questions, because I was listening, I’m prepared with that too. I make myself their partner.
Another way to look at this is lead by example, and take your leadership cues from whoever is the host.
Not only does this ensure that I get the most from the event, it also positions me as a partner to the speakers and leaders both in their eyes and in the eyes of many in the room.
Often when I go to events others approach me to chat, I believe it’s due to my mastery of Forwarding the Room, it positions me as someone who partners and collaborates well.
I know this may not make total sense for you. I’d be happy to chat about it, you can grab time on my calendar.